As a simple understanding to what is meant by human rights. we can say that it includes rights that should be available to all human beings, without discrimination based on sex or religion or color or any other differences, it represents those rights that should be given to everyone without any sort of discrimination, Universal human rights are often expressed by law, in the forms of treaties, customary international law, general principles and other sources of international law.
The degree of respect and following to these human rights differs from one legal system to the other and from one country to another.
We also need to know the absolute meaning of economic growth, economic growth is how much the economy of a certain country or region production increases at the current time compared to previous periods of time , this increase in the economic growth will cause the stock market of a certain country to increase and thus, that gives the firms of this certain country the money needed to invest and hire new employees and as a result, unemployment rate decreases and individuals will have surplus to purchase additional products and services, this creates -as a consequences-an economic development for this certain country or region.
Economic growth is usually measured by GDP. Which represents “Growth Domestic Product”, the main characteristic of the GDP is that it includes goods and services that domestic firms of a certain country or region produce for sale, weather those goods and services are going to be sold domestically or as exports, and exclude imports and unpaid goods and services.
The question we are trying to answer her is that ; weather there is a certain relationship between the due respect a country gives to human rights when dealing with its individuals , and its economic growth measured be the increase of its GDP per capita ?
And if there is indeed a relationship between the aforementioned factors, then we are going to test whether it is a positive or a negative one
Whether economic growth is related to human rights, is with a special importance in our point of view , as human rights embodied in a bundle of rights named; the right to education , equality between genders in, education , job opportunities and other fields, the right to have a say in your life and what is happening in the region you belong to, free access to information, equal access to the market , the right to express your vote , the due respect and enforcement of your own property rights , the rights to your freedom and the needed respect of your private autonomy, all has an important in their own , but to link this importance to the growth that a certain country can attain, to test the importance of the respect of those rights to the prosperity that can be achieved , gives no excuses for those who put no value on the respect and recognition of human rights , or those who claim that, that respect hinder economic growth, hence , not in the own favor of the people
A normal person in his right mind can never ignore what is happening in the real world, people are tortured, imprisoned and their basic rights as humans are violated all over the world, their right to express their political opinions, their right to participate in their country several types of elections, their right to live freely and with respect, their right to just and true trials, those rights are violated everywhere and under several allegations and names
We ask the question of whether the violation of those rights is attributed to the circumstances of a certain country or whether that violation would affect economic growth in one way or another. Indeed human rights – as stated by “Amartya sen” are important in their own and that importance need not to be proven by their effect on economic growth (Sen,A.(1999) )
But due to the fact that, the (lee thesis) is being used throughout the world by dictatorships to prove that there is a negative relationship between human rights and economic growth, a prove that some politicians may gladly use to repress their nations
something that a natural person logic may refuses , on the basis that human rights are the basics of our lives , they provide individuals with the safety and security required to be productive and efficient which is needed to achieve such economic growth
In the process to investigate the nature if the previously mentioned relationships we tend to Review the previous literature on the issue to illustrate the different schools in handling such a relationship
Literature review concerning the effect that human rights have on economic growth:-
Human rights and economic growth is not a new aspect of study of literature as it was discussed previously by several scholars
Those scholars where divided in general into three schools, illustrated as follows,
1-Due respect to human rights effects negatively economic growth” the trade off”.
In support to that, comes the “lee thesis” named after the prime minister of Singabori “Lee Kwan YEW” in which he claims that “political freedom has a negative effect on economic growth, as democratic regimes are always concerned with the short run papules demands instead of implementing beneficial long run policies”. According to this view, it is better to have an authoritarian government to implement economic improvements for the good of the social welfare of the whole society. The proponent of this point of view always use “china” to prove their argument. This particular country is a dictatorship not a democracy, nonetheless, it had a remarkable economic growth when compared to “India” for instance. As for (Andy mcKay and Polly Vizard? ) they argue for the opposite claim that , the “china” wide used example is not in its self an evidence of the negative effect of human rights on economic growth , their argument is in favor of the argument of “Derez and Sen 2002” as cited in their paper “human rights and poverty reduction” that the rapid growth of “china” in comparison with “India” is related to low fertility rates and coercive population policies.
(Acemoglu Naid, Pascual Restrepo and James A. Robinson) in their paper (democracy does cause growth) stated that the progress that non-democratic regimes like “China” have made in increasing their economic growth have been used to prove how democratic regimes, in best cases are irrelevant to economic growth, and in worst case scenario, hinder that improvement or growth, they also used the “Eclipse of the Arab spring” to prove that aforementioned point.
In support to this view argues (Adam Przeworski and Fernando Limongi Vol. 7, No. 3 Summer, 1993),) as they came to a conclusion that policies does matter, but “regimes” do not capture the relevant differences, they supported their argument as demonstrated in their paper, with the fact that “Postwar economic miracles include countries that had parliaments, parties, unions, and competitive elections, as well as countries ran by military dictatorships. In turn, while Latin American democracies suffered economic disasters during the 1980s, the world is replete with authoritarian regimes that are dismal failures from the economic point of view”.
2- The relationship between human rights and economic growth is a U shaped one:-
As (Peter Føllesdal Brown August 18, 2008 ) found that there is a non -linear relationship between human rights and gross , results similar to what( Robert Barro’s) found on his investigation to that relationship ,that there is an inverse U-shaped relationship between democracy and economic growth, meaning that a country reducing depression at first will finally result in more economic growth associated with less fear and higher security, a follow reduction of that depression will result in less economic growth as more demands for redistribution will take place, the only difference between those results and that of Brown is that , for the former, the last result was that; final increase in growth is observed as the repression reaches the lowest level.
At the end of the day, Brown couldn’t reject the “lee thesis” based on his findings, but he suggested that “it can be rejected based on the premises of the argument”.
While in the same time, some economists argue that human rights has a value of its own (sen , 1999) , it need not to be emphasized through economic values , and in the same time , those rights will enhance the individual capabilities of people to improve themselves, which ,at the end of the day works for the greater good of the social welfare, “Sen” also criticizes economists for not taking those rights into account while testing for the value of numerous variables on economic growth.
Some authors also tried to test the relationship between growth and how developed a certain country is , they tried to test whether there is a certain relationship between being a poor country and being repressed and ended up finding that there is no significant relationship between both factors (Mitchell, Neil J., and James M. McCormick 19888)
3- A positive relationship between due care to human rights and economic growth:-
As for the positive relationship between both human rights and economic growth
(Sano and Marselv 2016) in their paper “the economy of human rights ” found that economic development is –without question- important for the realization of human rights , as it provides better conditions for education, health , employment and welfare, on the contrary of that they couldn’t estimate the inverse relationship between the development of human rights and economic growth , to follow up in their footsteps (Sigrid koob,Stinne Skriver and Hans-otto-Sano) in their paper “Human rights and economic growth, tried to find out the relationship between the two factors of concern , as a follow up study to the work of the later , they used the “Ciri Empowerment rights index” to measure “freedom and participation rights , namely (freedom of domestic and foreign movement) ,(freedom of speech) , (freedom of assembly and association) , (workers rights) ,(electoral self -determination and freedom of religion) ,and their work ended up to be in support to (Sano and Marselv) hypothesis that “development of human rights may not be only the right thing to do in normative term , but also , the smart thing to do in economic terms , they found that The long – run effect of the measured rights on economic growth is positive and significant , which was basically in contrast with the “lee thesis” in its assumption that there is a tradeoff between human rights and economic growth as mentioned before, they also found that there is no significant relationship running from economic growth to freedom and participation rights.
As for (Stefan vogt and Lorenz bloome) in their paper ” the economic effect of human rights ” they argued that basic human rights are a precondition for other kinds of rights such as property , social and civil rights , and that they are thus efficiency-enhancing, they assume that ” certainty is a must in order for factors of production to be productive”, and uncertainty at the end will lead to low investment rates , thus, resulting in a lower rate of economic growth then a lower rate of per capita income. Their study ended up with the conclusion that, they also refuse the “lee thesis” as none of the results ended up at finding a significant negative relationship between human rights and economic growth, on the contrary to that, they found basic human rights to have positive effect on investments but not on productivity, as productivity is more affected with Social and emancipatory rights
Also arguing in favor of the positive effect of human rights on economic growth is (Daron Acemoglu Naidu , Pascual Restrepo
James A. Robinson) in their before mentioned paper (democracy does cause growth), as they found democracy, under which, lies the due respect to human rights, as it is the belief of freedom and equality amongst people, has a robust, positive and significant effect on economic growth represented on GDP, their results generally shows that, democracy increases GDP per capita by 20% in the long run., they found that democracy in the long run has a positive effect on GDP, as it encourages investments, education and economic reforms and reduces social unrest. They also found little prof for a negative relationship between both.
Barro, Robert J. (1996) in his paper “determinants of economic growth also stated that human rights represented in education level and facilitation along with lower fertility rates are strong determinates and contributors in the growth that a certain country can achieve
Also in favor of the positive relation , argues (Andy McKay and Polly Vizard 2005) in their paper? Human Rights and Poverty Reduction” as they came to a conclusion stating that there is in fact no tradeoff between human rights represented in the pursuit of poverty reduction and economic growth , in the opposite , they are complimentary to each other in the sense that policies implemented for the achievement of basic and important rights can have a positive and significant effect on economic growth
Also studies investigating ‘gender equality and its effect on economic growth, found a strong evidence that the discrimination between sexes might hinder economic performance, they found also, that such discrimination is associated with high rates of “child mortality” and has a positive relationship with “women fertility, two factors represented as strong indicators of the wellbeing of the population of a certain country
In that aspect, (Stephan Klasen) investigated the relationship between those factors empirically and ended up with the result that 0.4 to 0.9 of the differences in growth rates between “East Asia , “south Asia” , “Sub-Saharan Africa” and the middle East” is related to gender inequality in education in those regions, they found that gender inequality in education has a direct effect on economic growth represented in the law average quality of human capital and indirectly effects such growth through its effect in the investments and population growth , as low rate of educated women is associated with high level of child mortality and higher levels of fertility amongst women. They also concluded the same outcome regarding gender bias and discrimination regarding employment.